Another great article from Elle Kaplan. I have indeed discovered the incredible usefulness of combining this “Goldilocks principle” (not being well inside your comfort zone) with tiny daily goals. To apply it to one area: playing guitar. You can hear a really good guitarist playing a fingerstyle number, and doing it at maybe 120–130 beats a minute. You get a metronome and your guitar and the sheet music, and you find out that you can learn to play this piece, but at maybe 60 — or 50 or 40 — beats a minute. Sounds really slow and terrible, you think it’s unattainable. So if you can do it OK at 60 beats, do it at 62 until you can do it twice without errors. Then put the metronome up to 64. It’s at the edge of your playing competence but this is such a tiny difference you won’t even notice it. Do it twice without mistakes and next day put it up to 66. The timing won’t even sound any different. Keep pushing at the edge of this speed you can only just about be comfortable with. And in a month, just one single month, you will be playing this number so much better and at such a more reasonable speed, and will be well on the way to your desired 120 beats a minute. Not staying comfortable, but not being up to your eyebrows in anxiety — a terrific principle to apply to all sorts of things to improve your life.